Trump calls his own DOJ's investigation into White House cash for pardons scheme 'fake news'

President reportedly considering a number of pardons, including himself, amid investigation 

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 02 December 2020 15:38 GMT
Sean Hannity and Sidney Powell suggest Trump pardon himself and his family

Donald Trump has dismissed an investigation into whether or not people tried to pay the White House to be pardoned as “fake”.

The president wrote late on Tuesday that the “Pardon Investigation is Fake News”, hours after federal court documents revealed his own Justice Department was investigating a possible scheme to lobby White House officials for presidential pardons, as CNN first reported.

According to the 18-page document, which was largely redacted, numerous individuals are suspected of having secretly lobbied White House officials to secure a pardon.

And in a related scheme, some were suspected to have made a substantial political contribution to the US president in exchange for a pardon.

The revelation comes amid rumours that Mr Trump would pardon himself and several family members before leaving the White House next month, as well as close associates.

Sources close to the president told the New York Times that Mr Trump had discussed such a move, with concerns about retribution once he leaves office.  

He was said to have mentioned to advisers that his children, son-in-law and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani could be those handed preemptive pardons, although there is no current legal action against them.

No names were included in the court documents made public on Tuesday, while an anonymous Justice Department official said nobody within the government had been the subject or target of the investigation.

More than 50 devices, including laptops and iPads, were seized as part of the investigation, according to the document, which began in the summer.

Mr Trump last week pardoned Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser, who pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with Russia in 2017, as part of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference.

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